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Thursday, February 28, 2013

A New Word

The black hole of time you fall into while on YouTube, where time and space suspend.  Suddenly you look at the clock and two hours have gone by....and your original reason for going on YouTube has escaped you.

©Mia Hess

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lost Dog? Suggestions!

When you see those posts on FB, on a telephone pole, on your vet's wall or elsewhere, the first thing anyone with two heart-cells thinks is, "Aw, poor people!  Hope they find their doggie!"

Now sometimes I will actually call the people if their number is posted and give them some suggestions, most of which, surprisingly, they HAVEN'T DONE yet.

So, here's hoping this handy list will help someone somewhere.


1) Take pictures.  Good ones.
Too many people, even in this digital age are woefully UNPREPARED and under-photographed of their KIDS, not to mention their pets!
No shitty, blurry cell phone pictures!  Stop being lazy. Get out your decent/good camera and take pictures outside in good light.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Most pet owners don't have one decent picture of their dog and esp. their cat.
Ask a friend or co-worker to take pictures if you can't.  If you know me, I'm happy to help for a small fee, swap or trade.
You want your dog's face, front, side view and back view if s/he has an unusual tail or distinguishing mark on the hindquarters..
AND you want to take decent-to-great photos often.  Every month if they are beginning to gray or age.  Graying and/or older dogs change their appearance very quickly month to month.  Just as you would photograph you kid, you NEED TO HAVE GOOD PHOTOGRAPHS with GOOD DETAIL of your dog.

2) A Flat Buckle Collar That Fits. Many smart people with big shouldered dogs (where the collar slides off easily) keep harnesses on their dogs.  For a nice, rarely-rubs harness, invest in the Freedom Harness. It's not that expensive: around $25.
Make sure your dog has tags and they are securely attached.  If you don't like that hair ridge that comes from a flat collar, get a good, rolled leather dog collar.
Cats are more challenging than dogs to collar which is why #3 is vital!  And why is your cat outside ANYWAY??

3) Microchip your animals. I'm also a big fan of tattooing my dogs as well but tattooing has somewhat gone out of fashion.  The last place I knew that registered them is Tattoo=A=Pet.  Keep your information current and correct and pay the darn yearly fee thing. Same with the old dog license.

4) Get to know your neighbors and especially the kids in the neighborhood. Get out of your house and be neighborly, for heaven's sake. Let the nice neighbors meet your nice dogs, or at least throw his nervous nerd self some cookies on the sidewalk.  My neighborhood kids retrieved my wandering red and blue dogs more times than I care to say.

5) Make a flier or poster of your dog NOW.  Make it so you can always plug in new pictures if need be. You can do this in a wide variety of programs and formats: Windows, Corel, Photoshop, Paint.  There is a way to make a simple flier with text for PC, Mac or Linux.
That way, if the unthinkable happens you are ready to print.
Make sure that your neighborhood allows stapling stuff to phone/utility poles.  Many don't allow this.
You want the dogs' pictures, contact information (a phone number will do), description of dog and any characteristics ("frightens easily, friendly" etc.).  Some experts say don't use your dog's name, others say of course use the dog's name!
Reward offer?  I've heard both pros and cons on that.  I'd use your best judgement.

6) Invest in some basic training for you and your dog.  "Come!!" and the Emergency Recall can be truly your best safeguard against losing your dog!  It's a behavior that you need to reinforce throughout your dog's lifetime.  And yes, you can teach some cats to come when called.

7) Secure your containment area, yard, whatever. Check your parameters often.  Make sure the invisible fence is working and re-train your dog now and then.
Secure your dog in the car, teach him that jumping out whenever he feels like it is a no-no. Never release your dog from the car in a strange or exciting area unless he's leashed.

8) Prepare your network information:
Take the time one yucky, rainy Saturday and do research for your area.
If you live near a large park, state park, national park, get contact information for rangers etc.
Find all police stations, local shelters  vets, rescues, trainer, training clubs, purebred Kennel clubs and purebred breed clubs. Make a list and update it every six months.

Alas, now your dog has gotten lost.  He's been injured, chased a squirrel, bolted through your invisible fence, whatever. 

Use social media!! 
Post your flier on Facebook, Twitter etc.  
AND, here's the big one....KEEP IT UPDATED EVERY FEW HOURS. 
The minute Fluffy is found, TAKE IT DOWN and thank every one for their help and concern.
Too, too many people do not update those darn things.

WHEN YOU POST ON FACEBOOK please remember to include:
Those good photos of the dog. No photos, people don't give a crap. Sad but true.
Closest intersection where last seen AND City, county, state, country. DON'T FORGET THIS,  Too many people DON'T post the darn city and state!
Really????  If you're lucky, that sucker is going to be cross-posted nationwide and you forget what city and state?  Come on.
Your contact info etc.

Now, get away from the computer and.....remember the rules:



RULE C: THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.  If your gut tells you to do something, you get that niggly feeling, that little inner voice is shouting at you: PAY ATTENTION!  See Rule B!


1) Call all your neighbors, better yet, go to their houses. What, you don't know your neighbors? See Preemptive Strike #4 and The Rules.

2) Call the cops. I know, you don't LIKE the cops.  Call them anyway.  Bring them a poster with your dog's pictures and pertinent contact info which you have printed out and ask nicely if they will post it and ask the officers to keep a look-out.

3) Start driving around.  I rarely drive but I will still get in that car and drive around my neighborhood. Have treats and a loop leash with you!!!  If you see folks out walking, riding bikes, stop and ask them. Remember The Rules, esp. Rule B!

It's been 4-6 hours.  Still no dog.

4) Have a friend post fliers on telephone poles in the area where the dog was last seen.

5) Go to your local shelter or animal control if it's during opening hours.  Tell them your dog went missing. Don't call them especially if you have a bully type dog and live anywhere remotely close to a bully-intolerant area. Just go. Even shelter workers will tell you, don't call.
Time is of the essence.
If your dogs gets lost in the evening,  your first morning stop is the shelter. Go every day until your dog is found, if necessary.  Give someone at the shelter your flier.

 Now that Rainy Day Network Research comes into play:

 5a) Contact all local dog rescues, regardless of breed or type. Don't do it by email if at all possible. Try and talk to a human being. This can be challenging!

5b) Contact all local dog trainers, training clubs and your local AKC or UKC kennel club.

6) Call every vet in your county or in a 25 mile radius.  Seriously. If yours or another are in reasonable driving distance, take your posters to them.
If you haven't done Preemptive Strike #8 just get out the old Yellow Pages and start calling. Your dog could very easily be brought in as injured.  There still are good people out there.  And since you've microchipped your did microchip, correct?  See #3.

7) If you dog bolted into the woods, again, time and bodies are of the essence.  Arm everyone with treats and slowly make your way into the woods, running in lines, just as folks would do for a lost kid. If your dog went into private property, a park, a national park, you need to contact the right folks (such as rangers) right away.

7a) If there is a Search and Rescue team in your area, and there just might be, you could try to enlist their aid.  This is a very long shot, and you'd have to "know" some people but I have known people whose dogs were found by SAR teams.

It's been 2 days.  No dog.  You've continued to post on FB, call the cops, neighbors, vets' offices, visiting the shelters as well as your own on-foot or in car search.  Now it's time to make the hard call.

One is to Road Crews.  Those lucky folks who pick up deer carcasses.  Alas, some folks' dogs have been hit and killed and that's where their bodies ended up. At least you'll have some closure. If there are  any construction sites etc. near where the dog got lost, you need to have contacted them as well.

If you are moving or traveling with your dog, you must be even more prepared with your Preemptive Strikes #1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7.  Be overzealous and over-cautious!

And a good dose of praying and find-me energies to your Higher Power won't hurt one little bit.  Prayers, postive energies can truly help.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Left Knee

I found out yesterday I'm going to have knee surgery on Feb. 21st, 2013.  Less than 2 weeks from now.

Well, crap.  I guess that means I'm not doing the Cleveland Half-Marathon in May AGAIN.  Bleech.

I am not happy but I'll walk and do stuff up to the day.

Oh, and for an uplifting note of cheeriness, the bus driver on my way back from the doctor's says:
"I don't mean to be a downer but after I had my ACL surgery done, I gained 100 pounds and I've only lost 30 of it.  In 20 years....."

Gee, thanks!  Just what I didn't need to (insert swear words) hear. I gained a lot of weight after the first one in 2002 and the only thing that saved my life was having the esophagus rebuild in 2006.


Me in 1968 with my dear Half-Arab, Pooh
(Azur's Tarquin, a Raffles great-grandson.
Mom was a reg. Appaloosa.)
You know,  my past is horses.

I started riding horses when I was 4 years old.

I've ridden (and shown) Western, English, bareback, Dressage, Hunter-Jumper, Cross-country, trail riding (short and long distance) and driven a single and pair.

I played Broom Hockey, synchronized riding to music and did first level stuff like the Lipizzaners at the Spanish Riding School do (piaffe, etc.) with other riders.

I've ridden, driven and shown mostly warm-bloods: QHs, Arabs, Appies, TBs off the track (didn't like them), Welsh ponies. Arabs were always my favorites.  I did have some contact with draft horses, but not much and it was all driving.

I have shown locally, at Nationals and QH Congress.

I've learned from, worked with, competed (and sometimes won) against some of the best Western Equitation riders in this part of the country.

I've taught beginning teen and adult riders and disabled riders.

I only "broke" 1-2 horses using easy, gentle methods, but I did a lot of "gentling" in my time, of foals and skittery horses. That was not much more than sitting on an over-turned bucket in a stall and just hanging out (usually bundled up in tons of clothes with freezing feet, thinking, "Oh why are so man y foals born in January!") I'd speak softly, maybe a few treats here and there until they got used to me then I add some challenging stuff like grooming, a blanket, the saddle etc. I loved working with the pregnant mares and the wee babies!

I was a little girl riding big horses and had to learn to use my "energy", body balance, etc.

I'm not saying this to brag but I never used a spur. Not once.  To me, spurs were really, really old school (and I'm older than most of you) and something the way older guys from out West used.  I haven't put a leg over a nag in a long time...but I can't imagine using spurs even now.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Best Line Of The Week

Time: Opening night for ROBIN HOOD CAPER, before curtain. Feb. 1, 2013

Place: Brecksville, Ohio

Scene: Men's dressing room, hanging out.

Characters: 4 men over 50, 1 man 25-30, 1 woman, the shady side of 40.

Actor One: I don't like show tunes.
Actor Two: (dead-pan, without missing a beat) You MUST be a heterosexual.

Hilarity ensues! Many high-fives for the perfect come-back! A few moments later:

Me to Actor One: HOW long you been doing theater again?
Actor One: Oh, about 5 years.....
Me: That explains it....

Friday, February 1, 2013

E-Training Collars

There's no reason to use an e-training collar on a dog. How in he77 did old-time trainers, hunting guys, herding guys train a dog?  They managed without electricity   Some managed way better (more humanely") than others, of course. I'd say there's no place especially on a dog doing bite work.

I'd rather yell at my dogs!  I know, not very positive training.  I know a lot of hunting people use them for distance (long distances, hundred of yards away) work.  I don't know how the old-timers trained for that.  Wish I could talk to some old guy that trained bird dogs.

My first trainer, an old timer who occasionally used prongs --- and only temporarily never long time --- and taught 75% positive, 25% corrections --- never would have used an E collar.  And she was very what you all would call "old school" in that she'd use collar pops.  She didn't do clicker, she used "Yes" or a squeaky noise to capture behavior. Excited talking, luring, etc.  She could "read" a dog better than darn near anyone I've ever met.

She'd say if you have to resort to shocking a dog you must have crappy communication or the dog is close to being beyond help. We had some crazy, crazy dogs in class.  We learned to work around crazy and we kept moving, kept heeling, kept doing halt-sits, halt-downs, down stays, etc.  We'd switch dogs all the time so you'd learn to work with different dogs of different temperaments, sizes and abilities  We'd walk at least a mile to three in class. She treated every classmate like they were going to compete in Obedience.  As a result our "pet" dogs were pretty darn well behaved and a lot went into actual competition!

She worked with blind, deaf and disabled students. She herself was disabled. All dogs in her classes were expected to pass: CGC, TDI and go for an Obedience title. She believed in making a commitment to classes and your dog. She believed in out-of-sight stays and the Emergency Recall!

She taught me a lot and knew a lot even though she wasn't "all positive."  She was however always learning so I imagine she may have gone to all positives or nearly all.

I know somebody now who trains K9 dogs in Atlanta.  Her dogs work for treats, toys, tug and to play with the sleeve.  And they are BIG powerful European-style shepherd dogs.....  Amazing off switches. I got to see them work and then play, hang out and cuddle with them.

A real good working dog ---- whether they are doing bite work, S&R or herding has an OFF switch.  You can't "E-train" a dog into having one.  Old timers used to cull dogs who didn't have an off switch.  Sounds so harsh, I know.

You can't "E-train" a dog into wanting to work for you.  Some dogs have more of a "please you" temperament, some don't. I love a willing, brave, curious, food-motivated, yet slightly soft dog.  I know what I can work with and what is really super challenging for me to work with. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are in terms of ability and physical strength.

You can't "E-train" willing.

The Humble Milk Crate

Why can't you buy, find, snag a darn milk crate that fits an ALBUM?

For all you kids out there an ALBUM is one of those BIG round discs (almost always black) with a square cover.  You play it in a Record Player.   Better knows as a LP!

A milk crate, for the uninitiated, is a super handy thing to have around the house, basement, garage.  There are even websites and blogs dedicated to the humble milk crate and its hundreds of uses. I personally have seen them used as floor to ceiling book cases, loft bed lifters (with storage), parts of coffee tables with storage, bed frames with storage, stools, beer making storage, potato storage etc. They make great car organizers and cyclists strap those babies onto the back bike racks all over the world to carry stuff, like groceries.

The milk crate as dog toy bucket
I have three.  You can't have them.  I wish I had more.  Even though they don't fit an album, I love them.  One is the Dog Toy Bucket! It is well loved and chewed up.  Anybody I know who has a milk crate won't give it up.

I'm looking for them to make a wall cubby to put all sorts of stuff in instead of paying a zillion bucks to buy one of those over priced Ikea jobs (what a rip off) or better yet, to have one custom-built! Which would be ideal but very costly.

Hey, spend the bread on pretty baskets or buy cardboard boxes that fit in there and decorate the damn things!  You can "pretty up" darn near anything including a milk crate.

And if you don't weigh too much you can stand on a milk crate.  Great stool.
Artie diving into the Milk Crate/Toy Bucket.
He CAN reach in there with his head but
for some reason, he hops in there!

So why can't we old hippies (and audiophiles) find a milk crate that fits a darn LP?

After a ton of's the answer because I wondered the same thing.

You can NOT find a regular milk crate that will fit an bunch of LPs anymore.

Unless you truly luck out and FIND an old one, nowadays dairy crates (the sturdy ones) are 13 x 13" on the outside and won't fit albums with the covers. Don't try.  You'll be frustrated. Look at the first picture.  Did your albums suddenly GROW? Nope, the crates shrunk!

The diary folks got wise quickly and made the dimensions smaller years ago because the crates were getting snagged!

If you actually DO find an old milk crate that your albums fit into, guard it with your life.  It's a true treasure!

Spend the bread and get real dairy crates as long as you're not looking to store your LPs. There's a place in NJ that makes them for the diary industry.  I think it's called Farm Plast.  A dozen is about $92 with S&H, about $12 a piece which isn't bad because they're not those cheesy Target ones. those things are useless as tits on a bull.

Most "dairy crates" that are not made for the industry are
1) not made in America
2) not sturdy
Amazon has a 4 pack of the square Farm Plast ones, with S&H it's $41, as of Feb. 1, 2013

You might be able to find old dairy crates on eBay but make sure the INSIDE dimensions are at least 13 x 13 or you LPs will not fit and you'll be frustrated!  I'd get the seller to take a picture of one with a load of albums in it before I'd bid.

The Container Store has ones that are big enough for LPs, they're about $12-13 for one plus $2 S&H.  I just priced them today (2/1/2013). They get pretty good reviews too.

Hope this helps.....